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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 388MB


    Software instructions

      As the steamer moved on against the muddy current, and turned in the very crooked channel of the Pei-ho, Frank espied a double-storied building with a wide veranda, and asked what it was.

      DIKES ALONG THE RIVER. DIKES ALONG THE RIVER."Soon-keong has four gates, and they were opened at a certain hour in the morning. Ward went there secretly one night, and sent fourteen of his men to each of three of the gates, while he himself went with the remaining eight men to the fourth gate. The rebels suspected nothing, and at the usual time the gates were opened. Ward's men rushed in simultaneously at the four gates, made a great noise, set fire to several buildings, killed everybody they met, and pushed on for the centre of the town. In less than ten minutes the enemy had fled, and the battle was over. Ward was in full possession of the place, and a force of the imperial army, which was waiting near by, was marched in, to make sure that the rebels would not return.

      The Captain was on the bridge of the steamer, and appeared much disturbed about something, so much so that the boys asked Dr. Bronson if he thought anything had gone wrong.

      When it was time to go to sleep, the servant was called and the beds were made up. A thickly wadded quilt was spread on the floor for each person, and another was used for the covering. The quilt was not quite thick enough to take away all suggestion of hardness from the floor, and the covering was not the most convenient one in the world. Frank said that when the quilt was over him, he was altogether too warm, and when it was off he was too cold. Fred declared that his experience was exactly like that of Frank, except that it was more so. He had been bitten by fleas during the night, and, as he couldn't speak Japanese, he could not tell them to go awayat least, not in any language they would understand. Then the walls of the room were thin, or, rather, there were no walls at all. They had heard all the noises[Pg 174] that the house afforded; and, as pilgrims were coming and going all night, and some of those in the building were engaged in a noisy game of an unknown character, sleep was not easy. The boys were more weary after their night's rest than before they took it, and they agreed that they could not recommend a Japanese inn as the most quiet spot in the world. They rose very early, and would have been up much sooner if there had been any way of getting up.

      "If you are deeply interested in the subject of hari-kari," said the Doctor, "I advise you to read Mitford's book entitled 'Tales of Old Japan.' Mr. Mitford lived some time in Japan in an official capacity, and on one occasion he was called upon to be present at the hari-kari of an officer who had given orders for firing on some foreigners. He gives an account of this affair, including a list of the ceremonies to be observed on such an occasion, which he translated from a Japanese work on the subject. Nothing could be more precise than the regulations, and some of them are exceedingly curious, particularly the one that requires the nearest friend of the victim to act as his second. The duty of the second is to cut off the principal's head at the moment he plunges the knife into his body. It is a post of honor, and a gentleman who should refuse thus to act for his friend would be considered no friend at all. Again I say it is a curious custom all through.

      Frank asked the Doctor if this execution was anything like the "hari-kari" of which he had read, where a Japanese was said to commit suicide by cutting open his stomach.


      But they were at the port of Osaka and Kioto, and their thoughts were[Pg 271] turned towards those important cities. There was no difficulty in going there, as the railway was in operation to Osaka, twenty miles, and to Kioto, thirty miles farther on. But Frank was seized with an idea, which he lost no time in communicating to his friends. It was this:"Well, it seems that some Chinese pirates determined to capture this boat, murder all the foreigners on board, rob the Chinese passengers, and then get away on a junk that was to be ready to receive them. They made their plans, and on a certain day fifty of them took passage from Canton to Hong-kong. When about half way, they were to meet a junk with more men; and as the junk hung out her signal and came near, the fellows were to fall upon us with their knives, and capture the boat. They intended to kill us all, but their scheme failed, as there were four ships at anchor that day close by the spot where the junk was to meet them, and so the junk took the alarm and left. There was no disturbance, and we did not have a suspicion of anything wrong. Finding they had failed with us, they went the next day and captured the steamer Spark, which runs between Canton and Macao. They killed the captain and officers and the only European passenger who happened to be on board,[Pg 404] plundered all the native passengers, and got away. Some of them were afterwards captured, and confessed to their part in the affair, and then the whole story came out that they had intended to rob this boat. Since then we always have the gratings down, so that the third-class passengers cannot come on deck; and we keep plenty of rifles and revolvers in the pilot-house and captain's cabin ready for use. They may never try it on us again, and we don't intend to give them a chance to do so."




      "Why, hardly, if I'm behindhand now. Is it so fine as that?""It would amuse you if you could see the interest that the Japanese take in flying kites. And the funny part of it is that it is the men who do the most of the kite-flying, while the children look on, which is the exact reverse of what we do in our country. They have the funniest kinds of kites, and show a great deal of ingenuity in getting them up. Everybody has them, and they are so cheap that even the beggars can have kites to fly. They are of all sizes and shapes; you can buy a plain kite a few inches square, or you can get one as large as the side of a house, and covered all over with dragons and other things that sometimes cost a neat little sum for the painting alone. The Japanese understand the trick of flying a kite without a tail, and they do it by the arrangement of the strings, which is quite different from ours. On the other hand, some of their kites will have a whole line of strings hanging down as ornaments, and sometimes it looks as if the kite were anchored by means of these extra cords. They make their kites so large that three or four men are needed to hold some of them; and there is a story that a man who one day tied the cord of a kite to his waist was taken up in the air and never heard of[Pg 264] again. And there is another story of a man in the country who had a kite that he harnessed to a plough, and when the wind was good he used to plough his fields by means of it. But the story does not explain how he turned the furrow when he reached the end of the field. Perhaps he had an accommodating wind that shifted at the right time.